Philadelphia was known as a frontier city; “Gateway to the East”. Industry and agriculture was their bread and butter.They grew a lot of grapes, specifically, so it’s no surprise that Dionysus was a primary deity worshipped there.
Not a Mega Church
The church in Philadelphia would seem insignificant to our standards today, and probably also to the standards of the first century. It was not a mega-church, no TV program or daily radio show, no big building, no fancy facility, no multi-book deals for the senior pastor, no “city-wide” influence… just a small insignificant church in a house, or perhaps a strip-mall… Yet there were no words of rebuke for this church.
Something had happened
Scripture doesn’t say exactly, but if you look at all the things said then you get the idea that the church in Philadelphia had been treated harshly by someone… read the first half of the letter before we go on.
The Message to the Church in Philadelphia
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.
This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open:”
“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.”
What had happened?
The church began within the context of it’s Jewish roots (Jesus was a jew), it sounds like the church may have been “dis-owned” from the temple. The Jewish community may have been trying to put pressure on the church; refusing to acknowledge them, using manipulation to get them to forsake the church and return to the temple, or dis-associating with them, or kicking them out of the temple.
+ ever been fired by a boss with issues?
+ ever been ignored, kicked out, or otherwise dis-owned?
When He Returns injustices cannot stand
JESUS says of those he calls the “Synagogue of Satan” -“They will acknowledge you, they can’t ignore you and pretend you don’t exist, and they will acknowledge the fact that I love you…”
Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God
“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth…”
KEEP FROM is the same word as in LORD’s PRAYER = “deliver us from evil”, this is a promise Jesus makes to Philadelphia.
They had already had hardships, it’s not like they were going to live problem free, The GOSPELS and the Book of ACTS taught them “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” and this was their context for living, and their context as disciples, but Jesus made this promise of relief to them!
Then Jesus says
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.”
So, to the one’s who’d been pushes aside, ignored and treated as dead Jesus says “They cannot kick you out! I shut and nobody opens~ and I open and and nobody shuts… you will never be told to leave the temple of my God ever again!”
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
This sounds curiously like addressing something to be delivered.
WHEN HE RETURNS
God sees differently than men do, what seems insignificant and weak to us may be seen by God as very significant indeed. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.